Using cloud-based services is not uncommon today. Nearly all businesses and most consumers take advantage of cloud computing technology. This is quite impressive since major cloud service providers have only been around a little more than a decade. Regardless, the cloud computing technology landscape is again changing. Rather than using a single cloud service provider, many businesses are pursuing a multi cloud strategy. In fact, roughly 85 percent of all technology firms employ a multi cloud strategy today. A variety of reasons account for these trends ranging from reduced costs to enhanced performance. And many firms are leveraging these benefits to gain competitive success in their markets. If your business has yet to adopt a multi cloud strategy, it might be time to reconsider.
Evolution of Cloud Computing Technology
For a relatively recent industry, the cloud computing technology industry will soon exceed $500 billion. Amazon Web Services was among one of the first cloud service providers. Amazon was committed to providing a solid e-commerce platform as part of its primary business.
In doing so, Amazon repeatedly purchased larger and larger amounts of the computer infrastructure to support its growth. But rather than letting this infrastructure sit around idle while growth caught up, Amazon pursued a new venture. It began offering its infrastructure as a service to other businesses. This ushered in what is now the basis for modern-day cloud computing technology services.
In order to have a multi cloud strategy, one needs multiple cloud service providers. For a few years, Amazon was described as the best game in town. In fact, Amazon Web Services continues to dominate, owning about a third of the cloud services market. Based on its size, Amazon Web Services has provided quality cloud computing technology services for low cost. Their lower prices attract increasing numbers of customers to use their cloud computing services. Higher volumes of customers, and subsequently infrastructure purchases to support them, progressively drive down prices. As a result, Amazon Web Services has enjoyed a leadership position in the cloud computing technology market for some time. But this appears to be changing.
The Attraction of Cloud Computing Technology Services
Cloud-based services consist of three main options. The most basic services offered by cloud service providers are Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS). Cloud computing technology providers provide networks, devices, and servers for businesses as part of its IaaS services. This contrasts with Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS0 where operating systems and databases are provided in the cloud. Likewise, this differs from Software-As-A-Service (SaaS), which provides applications and actual data services themselves. Many businesses utilize all three services, but this is not considered a multi cloud strategy. In these cases, businesses simply utilize a single cloud service provider to provide all the services needed.
Several reasons explained the popularity of using cloud-based services. Most notably, cloud computing technology services markedly lowered infrastructure costs for businesses. Instead of purchasing these systems, businesses can simply “rent” them through the cloud. In addition, cloud computing technology services accelerate the deployment of software applications for a business. And cloud services offer greater flexibility and adaptability in operations and strategies. All of these benefits of cloud computing technology services drive a growing industry.
The Growth of the Cloud Computing Technology Market
With growing competition in the cloud computing technology sector, the possibility for a multi cloud strategy has emerged. Over several years, many companies competed in cloud computing wars to gain greater market share. In addition to Amazon Web Services, other companies like IBM, SAP, and VMware made significant strides in the industry. But Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure have made the greatest impact as of late. In considering a multi cloud strategy, getting to know the major players in the industry can provide some necessary insights. All offer cloud computing technology services, but each is slightly different in their own way.
Microsoft began offering cloud computing technology services in 2010 under the name Azure. Naturally, as the most powerful technology company in the world, Microsoft has tremendous infrastructure architecture. But Azure has approached cloud services in a different way from others. Azure has attracted businesses using hybrid cloud technologies. Hybrid cloud computing technology lets businesses enjoy the scalability of the public cloud. But at the same time, they may also choose to use private, local clouds. These hybrid cloud services are particularly attractive for businesses that need greater security and control.
Microsoft Azure offers businesses advantages in other ways as well. While other cloud computing technology companies charge by the second, Microsoft charges by the minute. Why is this important? Because Microsoft “rounds down” usage rates for each minute. For cloud-based services that require long connection times, this can result in significant savings. When considering a multi cloud strategy, a business might, therefore, choose to utilize Microsoft for some services. This could help reduce cloud computing technology costs further or enhance the security of data through hybrid cloud models.
Google Cloud Platform
Despite being a latecomer to the party in 2013, Google Cloud Platform has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years. In part, this is because Google has one of the fastest and most secure cloud computing technology services available. For companies looking for global content delivery, Google boasts strong performance with broad regional coverage. International companies that offer or analyze streamed data may want to consider Google as part of their multi cloud strategy. Spotify and Netflix are examples of major companies who utilize Google’s cloud computing technology services for this reason. Speed and performance are notable assets for Google’s cloud-based services.
While these are notable reasons to include Google in your multi cloud strategy, these are not the only ones. Google is investing heavily in related technologies that could take cloud computing technology services to the next level. For example, Google is pursuing artificial intelligence and machine learning to further enhance cloud services in the future. Additionally, Google expects to use these technologies in relation to the Internet-of-Things (IoT). Unlike Microsoft who combines public and private cloud services, Google is all about public clouds. The company predicts that with the IoT and other developments, the use of the public cloud will boom.
Amazon Web Services
Despite increasing competition, Amazon Web Services remains the dominant player in the cloud computing technology sector. In 2018, Amazon Web Services will likely exceed $25 billion in revenues all by itself. Likewise, with its experience, Amazon cloud computing technology services are safe, reliable and affordable. And Amazon now offers 140 cloud services in 19 different categories. So, why would you need a multi cloud strategy if Amazon has it all? It all depends on the type of business you have and the cloud-based services you require. You might use Amazon for some services, but you may adopt a multi cloud strategy to meet other specific needs.
In some cases, businesses may not want to use Amazon simply for competition reasons. For example, Walmart and Target may choose to avoid Amazon’s cloud services because of their competition with Amazon’s retail arm.
Some firms may have conflicts using an Amazon division by the nature of their business offerings. In other instances, Amazon Web Services may not be the most affordable or the fastest for specific cloud-based needs. And most importantly, Amazon may not keep up with developments in cloud computing technology services. Amazon is lagging in new patent applications and cloud company acquisitions when compared to its competitors. Thus, you may choose to include other cloud service providers in your multi cloud strategy to stay current.
Third-Party Cloud Tools – A Major Reason for a Multi Cloud Strategy
While differences among companies highlight why a multi cloud strategy might be useful, other developments also deserve consideration. Unlike in the past, many platforms and applications are composed on microservices. What are microservices? Imagine a platform that offers a secure login, a chat box, and a search tool. Each of these is part of the platform or the application, but each operates independently. Microservices are used to alter these specific components when changes are needed rather than changing the entire application. These microservices exist in “containers,” which interact with one another through interfaces. These interfaces also allow different containers, and therefore microservices, to interact with different cloud service providers.
What is noteworthy is that dozens of third-party cloud tools now exist to handle these microservices. Naturally, cloud service providers want to accommodate these third-party cloud tools to attract customers. But each cloud service provider may be better or worse when it comes to a specific third-party cloud operation. Because this is becoming increasingly common, a multi cloud strategy may offer a competitive advantage for your business. Third-party cloud tools can provide a variety of microservices. These include security, container management, data integration, as well as performance monitoring services. Based on their function, you may decide a multi cloud strategy gives you the best chance for success.
Don’t Be Behind the Curve – Consider a Multi Cloud Strategy
A recent survey of technical professionals found that four out of five had a multi cloud strategy. In addition, the average cloud services leveraged in their multi cloud strategy was nearly five. Without question, cloud computing technology services are rapidly evolving. Likewise, companies providing cloud computing technology services are also expanding. As the offerings become more refined and complex, a multi cloud strategy makes logical sense. Though every cloud may have a silver lining, a multi cloud strategy might just bring you gold.
EVP & Associate Publisher